B.1 History of the software

Python was created in the early 1990s by Guido van Rossum at Stichting Mathematisch Centrum (CWI, see http://www.cwi.nl/) in the Netherlands as a successor of a language called ABC. Guido remains Python's principal author, although it includes many contributions from others.

In 1995, Guido continued his work on Python at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI, see http://www.cnri.reston.va.us/) in Reston, Virginia where he released several versions of the software.

In May 2000, Guido and the Python core development team moved to BeOpen.com to form the BeOpen PythonLabs team. In October of the same year, the PythonLabs team moved to Zope Corporation (then Digital Creations; see http://www.zope.com/). In 2001, the Python Software Foundation (PSF, see http://www.python.org/psf/) was formed, a non-profit organization created specifically to own Python-related Intellectual Property. Zope Corporation is a sponsoring member of the PSF.

All Python releases are Open Source (see http://www.opensource.org/ for the Open Source Definition). Historically, most, but not all, Python releases have also been GPL-compatible; the table below summarizes the various releases.

Release  Derived from  Year  Owner  GPL compatible? 
0.9.0 thru 1.2 n/a 1991-1995 CWI yes
1.3 thru 1.5.2 1.2 1995-1999 CNRI yes
1.6 1.5.2 2000 CNRI no
2.0 1.6 2000 BeOpen.com no
1.6.1 1.6 2001 CNRI no
2.1 2.0+1.6.1 2001 PSF no
2.0.1 2.0+1.6.1 2001 PSF yes
2.1.1 2.1+2.0.1 2001 PSF yes
2.2 2.1.1 2001 PSF yes
2.1.2 2.1.1 2002 PSF yes
2.1.3 2.1.2 2002 PSF yes
2.2.1 2.2 2002 PSF yes
2.2.2 2.2.1 2002 PSF yes
2.2.3 2.2.2 2002-2003 PSF yes

Note: GPL-compatible doesn't mean that we're distributing Python under the GPL. All Python licenses, unlike the GPL, let you distribute a modified version without making your changes open source. The GPL-compatible licenses make it possible to combine Python with other software that is released under the GPL; the others don't.

Thanks to the many outside volunteers who have worked under Guido's direction to make these releases possible.

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